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What Does it Mean to Apply to College โ€œUndecided?โ€

4 min readโ€ขaugust 19, 2021

kilianmolly

Molly K


Applying to College Undecided

So youโ€™re applying to college but donโ€™t know what to study ๐Ÿคท? Thatโ€™s totally okay! You have the option of applying to college as an undecided major, meaning that you have not indicated or chosen what exact field you want to major in.ย 

Should I Apply to College Undecided?

When to Apply to College Undecided

Actual footage of me applying to college when I had no idea what I wanted to pursue:
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-ucD4MuQwVdmJ.png?alt=media&token=b037d74a-cded-42b4-894a-66c675924419
For some who are unsure about their career paths or have a wide variety of interests, applying undecided could be a great way to explore different options at college. It can also be challenging to ensure you know what you want to do with the rest of your life since, after all, you apply to college when you are 16-18 years old ๐Ÿ˜…. You can also take advantage of this option to find new interests or explore new subject areas!

When NOT to Apply to College Undecided

However, it is important to note that some colleges and programs (such as pre-med ๐Ÿฅผ) require you to apply to the particular program because the track requires a strict set of classes and prerequisites. This means that it is unlikely you will finish in four years if you initially apply to college undecided and then try to transfer into a pre-med program, for example.
More disadvantages of applying to college undecided
  • Applying to a major may qualify you for departmental scholarships.
  • Applying to college undecided may make colleges learn less about you.
    • Potential solutions:
      • If applying to college undecided, it is essential to make sure the rest of your application really tells your story and helps the college envision who you are.
  • When you choose a major eventually, you may find out that the college you are at is not well versed in it.
    • Potential solutions:
      • When the time to commit to a college comes, deciding on a college with a strong basis in programs you may be interested in may be beneficial.
      • Or you could transfer to a new college that has a strong program for the degree you choose.

Choosing a College Major

At some point in the college process, you will have to choose a major. Hopefully, applying undecided has allowed you to explore ๐Ÿงญ different interests or find something new you genuinely like.

How to Choose a College Major

A great first step in deciding a major would be to make a list ๐Ÿ—’ answering the following questions:
  • What do you like to study?
  • What are you good at?
  • What do you like to do?
  • What can you picture yourself doing five years from now?
Thinking ๐Ÿ’ญ about those questions prompts you to evaluate your passions and interests, allowing you to finally make a decision! If you still need extra help, you can always reach out to an advisor at your college or university.ย 

Resource: Program Websites

A great resource to explore potential majors would be the program websites ๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿ’ป for the different majors at your college. You can read through all of the additional requirements and even look at some classes that they offer.ย 
While this can be overwhelming, it might help you envision ๐Ÿ”ฎ different majors and their potential career paths. Luckily, many majors have a multitude of possible career tracks!ย 
What it feels like to look through all of the program websites:
https://thumbs.gfycat.com/ClutteredSelfassuredIslandwhistler-size_restricted.gif

How to Decide Between 2 Awesome Options

A great way to decide between two options is the following: flip a coin ๐Ÿช™. It may sound counter-intuitive to determine your future by a coin flip, but it is a handy tool to help decide something. The process is simple: flip the coin. Whichever side it lands on is your answer.
The catch: if you end up being disappointed with how the coin flip ends up, you will have already subconsciously made your choice, and you should go with the other option. Smart, right ๐Ÿค“??ย 
Double Majors and Minors
At some schools, you can also double-major and/or have at least 1 minor. This is useful if you have many interests and would like to pursue more than one of them. Youโ€™d get to pursue multiple fields of studies you love or even have a newfound interest be incorporated into your studies ๐Ÿ“š.ย 

Declaring a Major

The declaration process for a major varies from school to school but is typically done by the end of sophomore year. Your academic advisor will help you through this process, which is generally done online ๐Ÿ’ป.ย 
Footage of how a major is declared nowadays:
https://thumbs.gfycat.com/HarmlessCostlyInganue-max-1mb.gif

Important Note

While declaring a major is essential in college, what you end up majoring in may not necessarily determine what you do for the rest of your life. You could major in chemistry ๐Ÿงช and become a journalist, for example. You could even apply as a certain major and change your major before you graduate from your college or university. In that regard, itโ€™s incredibly important to stay active in your interests even if you donโ€™t major in them. They may become either part of your career or one of your favorite activities!ย 
Remember, itโ€™s 100% okay to apply to college undecided in your future endeavors. If you go in with a solid plan to follow your passions and put in some hard work, youโ€™re already setting yourself up for success ๐Ÿคฉ!ย 
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